Rice farmers in Karonga say they are exploring new markets for their crop apart from Tanzania where it is sold at below the minimum farm-gate price.
While the minimum farm-gate price for unpolished rice is K280 per kilogramme (kg), Tanzanian traders are buying the commodity at K150 per kg, which is 46 percent below the Malawi Government recommended price.
The farmers, under the Community Savings and Investment Promotion (Comsip) Cooperative Union, funded under the Financial Access for Rural Markets Smallholders and Enterprise Programme (Farmse), have since asked government and other players in the agriculture sector to intervene.
One of the farmers, Gertrude Mwenewawo, said because of lack of access to markets, her cluster has about 6 000 kg of rice in its warehouse.
“Apart from the rice that we are keeping as a cluster, every individual farmer also has more rice stuck in their homes hoping that prices will improve,” she said.
Mwenewawo said lack of markets is also impacting on their capacity to save and venture into investment to generate household income.
Comsip capacity building officer under the Farmse programme Lloyd Ngwira said they are planning to link farmers to bigger markets, including Agriculture Commodity Exchange for Africa.